Celebrate Earth Day 2015 Wednesday April 22nd by taking a bike ride. Ride the State Street Bike Route or mountain bike along the Town Brook, maps will be available at The Soap Co. Coffee House on the northeast side of square in Jacksonville. Or meet there at 5:30 pm to join the Morgan Cyclists in a longer ride. (Link to The Soap Co. on Facebook.) Say you’re coming via Facebook event.

Morgan Cyclists will have a short ride of about 11 miles (it’s there-and-back, so you can turn around short of the destination if you’re not up to that distance yet) and a longer ride of about 18.5 miles. Thanks to Darren Iozia for mapping out the rides.

Nicole will have Soap Co. open, with specials for those arriving by bicycle. If your bike is under the weather, walk or run downtown instead (then head to Village Cyclery to get fixed up for the next weekly ride).

Parking is limited on the square — so consider keeping your car in the lot north of Hamilton’s, or even better yet ride to the start.

State Street was built for streetcars, is relatively low traffic, passes many of the historical sites in town as well as parks and attractions. Take a ride of whatever length, and join in the festivities.

The city already owns land along the Town Brook from MacMurray College to Illinois College/Turner Junior High School. Get your fat tires on the grass and ride the length of the creek, see some sights, and get some exercise.

Also, mark your calendars for Bike to School Day Wednesday May 6th.

Who are the Morgan Cyclists? There’s about 50 members, all different levels of bicycling, who want to have a relaxed atmosphere for a ride. Set your own pace, pick your own pack — just get out and have funs. Rides every Wednesday.

 

Protect the Melon! logo

The Morgan County Medical Society and Passavant Area Hospital are partnering with the Jacksonville Park Foundation and Illinois College Professor Dr. Jeremy Turner to give away helmets to every fourth grade student in Jacksonville.

The Protect the Melon! campaign encourages youth to wear a helmet when biking, roller skating, riding a scooter, skateboarding or any other wheeled activity. “The importance of wearing a helmet has been shown to save lives and protect against brain injuries,” said Dr. Turner. “Being active is essential to being a healthy child, and with that comes falls and tumbles.”

Illinois College psychology students have been presenting the brain awareness program and giving away bicycle helmets to fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary for a number of years. Jacksonville Park Foundation founding board member Harry Ford had the idea to expand the program to all the schools in the community. This is the second year all 350-plus fourth graders in Jacksonville public and private schools will receive helmets.

fitting helmet on student

Illinois College student JJ Wang fits helmet during Protect the Melon 2014 at Lincoln Elementary School.

On Thursday, April 9, Illinois College students will travel to District 117 schools to give a lesson on how the brain works, show how a melon with and without a helmet fares when hitting the pavement, and distribute the helmets. Distribution to Our Saviour School, Salem Lutheran School, Westfair Christian Academy and Illinois School for the Deaf will be at a later date.

Links, tips and information on being a Melonhead is available at ic.edu/melonhead.

Test your knowledge and learn about relevant laws and skills – for both bicyclists and motorists – in the bicycle safety quiz challenge at bikesafetyquiz.com.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation is working with the Pilot Club, Helmets First!, the Illinois College Psychology Club and others in the community to fund the program for future years. Contact Foundation President Steve Warmowski via jacksonvilleparkfoundation.com to help.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation focuses on health, recreation and families. Volunteers in the group have started several initiatives to improve the quality of life in the Jacksonville community such as its youth health via the Jacksonville Children’s Garden; advocating for a bridge and path at Lake Jacksonville and a Town Brook recreational trail; and park enhancements. The foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization and is solely reliant on private funding.

You can contribute by making a check out to Jacksonville Park Foundation and mailing to Laura Marks/JPF Treasurer, Jacksonville Savings Bank, 1211 W. Morton Ave., Jacksonville, IL 62650.

professor holds melon fitted with helmet

Illinois College Psychology Professor Jeremy Turner prepares to drop a melon fitted with a helmet during Protect the Melon! 2014 at North Elementary School.

Group photo of kids with new helmets

Students at Murrayville-Woodson Elementary School with their new helmets last year. Fourth graders at all Jacksonville schools will receive helmets again this year thanks to Morgan County Medical Society and Passavant Area Hospital.

2015 Passavant-Gatorade 5K & 10K is Saturday May 30

A new bicycle club for Jacksonville, Illinois will be launching next week. Morgan Cyclists bike club’s first ride will be March 25th, starting at 5:30pm at Village Cyclery, 1407 Village Lane, South Jacksonville, IL 62650. The club will have rides every Wednesday — routes of about 15 miles, complete within 2 hours at your own pace.

Here’s how to join . . .

Here’s the upcoming schedule and other notes from organizer Harry Ford . . .

  • April 1 – 5:30 – Bahan’s Yeah, right. (Hey, your wheels are turning backwards. Hey, you have a mudstreak up your back. Hey . . . April Fool!) A foolish ride to be determined.
  • April 8 – 5:30 – YMCA lower parking lot.
  • April 15 – 5:30 – Village Cyclery for a taxing taxday ride through the countryside.
  • April 22 – 5:30 – The Soap Co. Coffee House, Earth Day Ride (new info).
  • April 29 5:30 – Village Cyclery Let’s make this a fitness ride, a workout to get ready for the rest of summer.
bicyclists mount up to start ride

Jacksonville cyclists at the 2014 Town Brook Ride.

Remember May is National Bicycling Month – Since 1956 the League of American Bicyclists has promoted May as National Bike Month, a nationwide celebration of all things biking. It makes sense – rites of spring and freedom. And it is an opportunity to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try. Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pedal to preserve your health or the environment; or simply to explore and have fun, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

What can we few do locally to develop awareness or to create an event or simply to entertain ourselves?

Weekend Rides in May – We will, in addition to our Wednesday evening rides, do a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon ride each weekend in May. Anyone have ideas for themed rides, special routes, whatever? Let’s hear them.

Noteworthy May biking events –

  • May 2. Tour de Stooges Lebanon, IL. A fundraiser for the Ridge Prairie Trail Initiative. Group trip?
  • May 11-15. Bike to Work Week
  • May 16. Bike to Work Day.
  • May 20. Ride of Silence. Our Wednesday May 20 group ride will be a bit different. Ride of Silence is a world-wide group ride occurring in thousands of communities simultaneously. It seems that Jacksonville should shed its provincial shell and become part of the world occasionally. This is one occasion. We will honor riders who have been killed or seriously injured in cycling accidents. Details will come.
  • May 24. Bike the Drive. Ride Lake Shore Drive in Chicago WITH NO MOTORIZED TRAFFIC. Surreal, right?

The main purpose of the non-competitive bike club will be to get people out to ride. The club will also boost efforts to encourage bicycling in the community and support the Jacksonville Park Foundation.

Town Brook Initiative of the Jacksonville Park Foundation on Facebook. Contact Harry Ford with questions

Facebook links to other community cycling groups . . .

Buster Sanitation Services (PDC Area) provides curb-side recycling under contract with Jacksonville and South Jacksonville. In Jacksonville last year Buster switched to pickups on the 2nd and 4th weekdays, lending to some confusion.

Recycling is easy in the community with single stream recycling. You don’t have to sort this or that, just toss everything into a cardboard box, bag or a reusable tote. Most paper (no waxed cardboard or plastic & sticky labels from junk mail); most plastic (up to number 5 — no #6 styrofoam, and only #7 narrow neck containers); Glass (clear, blue, brown or green – never ceramic mugs/plates or flat/window glass); and metal are recyclable.

Buster now has handy guides on their web page you can download and print. Download a recycling guide, and PDFs of the schedules . . .

South Jacksonville (once a month)

Jacksonville

If you have questions contact Buster via web form or call 217.245.7204. Recycling stream heads to Decatur’s Midwest Fiber Recycling.

If you don’t live in the city/village (or if you do, but live in a large building and don’t get curb-side pickup) you can always take your items direct to Buster’s facility at 2263 State Highway 104 during weekdays 5:30 am-5 pm.

New! Morgan Cyclists — Formative Meeting 5:30 pm February 25 at Village Cyclery.

Get fit! Stay fit! Have fun! See the Morgan County countryside and more in the very best way – on two wheels, quietly and with fellow riders. Meet your bike-riding neighbors. Make new friends. Bring your current friends.

  • Weekly rides start in the Spring.
  • Experienced ride leaders.
  • Socializing options after each ride.

Multiple routes of 15 miles and more. Maps and cue sheets for all rides. Everyone welcome. Male & female, experienced & novice. (Adults only. Family rides will be planned and announced periodically.)

Requirements: A bicycle, a helmet, legs, lungs, the will to ride.

That’s Wednesday, February 25 at Village Cyclery in South Jacksonville.

In association with the Jacksonville Park Foundation and Village Cyclery

bicyclists mount up to start ride

Jacksonville cyclists at the 2014 Town Brook Ride.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently announced three area schools brought home about $333,000 of $5.9 million in Safe Routes to School grants awarded to communities around the state.

  • $158,400 to replace sidewalks to Waverly CUSD #6 campus
  • $62,880 for a footbridge and sidewalks to connect a subdivision and Pittsfield/Pikeland schools
  • $111,029 to Carlinville for sidewalks, traffic control devices, pedestrian crossing improvements and secure bicycle parking facilities.

Jacksonville and School District 117 can take advantage of this grant pool to encourage kids to walk and bike to school (including a path along the Town Brook) as part of the Turner Junior High School renovation.

On Hoagland along the Town Brook to Turner Junior High — the perfect place for a protected bike lane.

On Hoagland along the Town Brook to Turner Junior High — the perfect place for a protected bike lane.

Please familiarize yourself with the Community Health Needs Assessment done by the Morgan County Health Department and Passavant Area Hospital. Part of the study included BMI measurements on local school children which showed . . .

  • 24% of Kindergarten students were overweight or obese
  • 42% of 6th grade students were overweight or obese and
  • 46% of freshmen students were overweight or obese.

Controlling metabolic syndrome is one of the community’s health challenges, increasing physical activity is the prescription, and schools are an important part of making this improvement to community health possible.

When School District 117 starts planning for the rehabilitation of Turner Junior High School, please get active and work to ensure Safe Routes to School (including a path along the Town Brook) are incorporated in the designs.

Thanks to all those who participated in our Premier Town Brook 5k last month! The event was organized by Dave McCollum, and we really appreciate all the work he did setting up the course and getting his buddies to run the finish line. He’s passed on the times . . .

  1. Jay Wessler 21:23
  2. Richard Cody 22:16
  3. Rachel Langdon 22:46
  4. Philip Langdon 24:07
  5. Tyler Stewart 24:09
  6. Emily West 24:16
  7. Rachel Antle 26:24
  8. Beki Allen 28:10
  9. Tyler Wood 28:13
  10. Jeremy Bell 28:21
  11. Anna Wagner 28:21
  12. Addie Boston 28:22
  13. Stacey Vaniter 28:46
  14. Sandy Ballard 29:35
  15. Tammy Bone 29:57
  16. Alicia Wood 31:04
  17. David Killebrew 31:26
  18. Amy Wilson 31:56
  19. Jennifer Taylor 34:19
  20. Julie Kunzeman 35:05
  21. Karen Sibert 35:10
  22. Linda Strubbe 35:18
  23. Amanda Hagloch 42:56
  24. Mary Gray 45:40
  25. Tina Vernor 45:40
  26. Becky Hartz 47:25
  27. Melisa Thomas 47:40
  28. Howard Bryant 47:40
  29. Rhea Drake 47:40

The event was a fundraiser for the Jacksonville Park Foundation to support health, recreation and families. Since the run volunteers have been busy with projects like the Jacksonville Children’s Garden, and advocating for a pedestrian bridge on West Lake Road (so people running and riding their bikes can circumnavigate Lake Jacksonville).

As for next year, the Downtown Celebration is moving to the last weekend in May. That conflicts with the Passavant-Powerade 5k and 10k Race, so we are exploring other options.

 

Jacksonville, Illinois 62650 has a new disc golf course at Foreman Grove. Located on the east end of Jacksonville at Old State Road/Old Jacksonville Road and the crossing of Mauvaisterre Creek/the Town Brook at Johnson Street.

Here’s a quick map of the course. Baskets are in as of Saturday May 10, 2014. Tees will be put in with the week, and an opening ceremony will be in the next couple weeks. Download hi res map by Guido Strotheide of the Springfield Illinois Disc Golf Club.

Guide to Jacksonville Illinois Disc Golf at Foreman Grove: Top is North (College Ave-Old State Road/Old Jacksonville Road), left if Johnson Street, blue at bottom is Mauvaisterre Creek/Town Brook. (revised 22 May 2014)

Guide to Jacksonville Illinois Disc Golf at Foreman Grove: Top is North (College Ave-Old State Road/Old Jacksonville Road), left if Johnson Street, blue at bottom is Mauvaisterre Creek/Town Brook. (revised 22 May 2014)

Illinois College students Nathan Zimmerman and Caleb Harris pushed for the course, put in by the city of Jacksonville. They, along with MacMurray College students Janson Shehorn and Cydny Saxer and others, have been working with the Parks & Lakes Department on plans for a course in the little-used park. They raised funds from sponsors donated via the Jacksonville Park Foundation to the city. Funds also came from the city of Jacksonville’s Goveia Family Trust, and parks funds. More photos . . .

Foreman Grove Disc Golf, Jacksonville Illinois.

Foreman Grove Disc Golf, Jacksonville Illinois.

Foreman Grove Disc Golf, Jacksonville Illinois.

Foreman Grove Disc Golf, Jacksonville Illinois.

Foreman Grove Disc Golf, Jacksonville Illinois.

Foreman Grove Disc Golf, Jacksonville Illinois.

Please be welcome over to Jacksonville to check out our new disc golf course. Saturday May 17th 2014 is the Downtown Celebration, and you can make a day of it in Jacksonville including a 5k, fun run/walk, fun ride, long bike ride or nature walk on the Town Brook. Or bring your mountain bike and take part in the first werewolf ride of the season at Audubon Woods Trails. More to do listed at Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

From Springfield, Illinois get to Foreman Grove via Old Jacksonville Road/Old State Road; or take I 72 to Exit 68 and take first right to get up to Old Jax.

Posted by Steve Warmowski

Jacksonville mountain bikers have developed trails at the Audubon Woods preserve, located at the east end of Mauvaisterre Lake on Woods Lane between Vandalia and Country Club roads. Every Saturday after the full moon, cyclists will meet at sundown, strap on lights and ride the trails. Check for updates on the Jacksonville, Ill Trails group on Facebook.

Spider web backlight by cyclist

First one on the trails gets to clear the spiders!

The first ride of the year 8:10 pm Saturday May 17th coincides with the Downtown Celebration and the Jacksonville Town Brook run/ride/walk. If you’re coming to Jacksonville, consider making a day of it and doing the Town Brook 5k and/or Mauvaisterre Ride 17.5 miles in the morning, taking in the Jacksonville Main Street events in the day, and capping off the day by riding in the woods. Register for those events at jacksonvilleparkfoundation.com

 

2014 Werewolf Ride schedule (at sunset)
Saturday May 17
Saturday June 14
Saturday July 12
Saturday August 9
Saturday September 6
Saturday October 4
Saturday November 8
Saturday December 6

Please check the group page before going out. Event will be called off it the trails are too muddy to use without damaging the tracks with too much rutting.
Note: the public can use the trails at any time, but don’t go in the mud! It takes too much volunteer time to fix ruts. Event is crowd-sourced, and not an official event of any organized group or organization.

Posted by Steve Warmowski

At the Jacksonville Main Street annual meeting today the organization unveiled a new vision for growing downtown — as a place to visit, live, work and play. The vision includes safety for pedestrians and a bike friendly environment to attract people downtown.

As a place to live, downtown communities are a preferred location for retiring boomers and young professionals. Both of these demographic groups are attracted to areas that are pedestrian and bike friendly. As a place to play, designs that attract people on foot and on bike to visit downtown.

Projects like a recreational trail along the Town Brook. Connecting to downtown, say, along Sandy Street with a pocket park where Illinois Power is removing their stream-side substation. A parkway where people can transverse the city, from Foreman Grove/Pioneer Woods to Wal-Mart. A project that not only brings people downtown, but spreads revitalization energy out into the rest of the city.

Projects like a bike route along State Street. Folks from Springfield can come in via Old State Road and cross a pedestrian/bicycle bridge (replacing the old State Street bridge). Traverse the city hitting sights like ISVI, Lonzeratti’s, MacMurray College, downtown, architecture on West State Street, Duncan Park, ISD, on Lafayette past Eisenhower School. West of town take Liberty Road and parallel the old Northern Cross Route (the first railroad west of the Alleghenies) to cross the river at Meredosia and to points west.

The Town Brook Initiative of the Jacksonville Park Foundation seeks to work with community leaders and interested parties to plan these projects through local governments.

Written by Steve Warmowski

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